Italian American Digest DigestSpring2019RevisedFinalDraft | Page 3

SPRING 2019 Italian American Digest C iao a tutti! each March the Italian Americans join together in honoring Saint Joseph on his feast day and in celebration of our shared culture. The Saint Joseph’s Day altar tradition began in Sicily during the Middle Ages. The island experienced a major drought and famine and so the Sicilians prayed to St. Joseph, their patron saint, for assis- tance. They promised that they would hold a feast in his name if their prayers were answered. Rain began to fall, saving the crops, the livestock, and the Sicilians. The Sicilians, in return, filled altars in their town squares with food as gift offerings; all the food was distributed to the less fortunate. When Sicilians immigrated to Louisiana, they brought the St. Joseph’s altar tradition with them. While Saint Joseph’s Day is observed by Italian Americans across the United States, I have to say Louisiana does it best. Each year on Saint Joseph’s Day, local schools, churches, private homes, and even some grocery stores put up altars, filled with fava beans, baked goods, and a variety of other foods and objects. Today the tradition has been adopted by the entire state. In addition to altars, there are two parades honoring our Italian heritage, the Irish Italian Parade in Metairie and the Ital- ian American St. Joseph Soci- ety’s St. Joseph’s Day Parade in the French Quarter. Keep an eye out for me in both parades - I’ll be with the Sansepolcro Flag Throwers who are returning to Louisiana for a 35th year! Warmly, Frank Maselli AICC Chairman PAGE 3 49th Annual St. Joseph’s Parade Saturday, March 23, 2019 Hosted by the Italian American St. Joseph Society Saint Joseph’s Day Parade 3/23/19 at 6pm A letter from Peter Gilberti, President of the Italian American St. Joseph Society The St. Joseph Society was founded in 1970 and has climbed to heights of 1500 members in recent years. Our objective is to keep our Italian heritage prevalent in New Orleans, the destination of so many of our forefathers in the 19th and 20th centuries. Our organization is unique in that we have incorporated the focal point of New Orleans’ fes- tive culture, the parade, into our love of our Italian heritage. We celebrate of St. Joseph’s Day this way each year. The evening begins with fabulous Italian cuisine and fine wine, and, of course, Italian music. The parade then proceeds through New Orleans’ famous “little Palermo” as dubbed in the 1800’s (Vieux Carre). Thousands of locals and tourists line the streets to take part in our celebration. We exchange salutations, hand out silk flowers and fava beans, and dance and sing with the bystanders. We will follow the parade with a gala in the grand ball- room of the New Orleans Hilton Riverside Hotel, where our beautiful, young Italian signorinas are presented. We sip the wine and dance the Tarantella all night long. This event is the pinnacle of each year; however, we do enjoy events through- out the year. On March 9, 2019, our Outreach Program will be hosting an event at the St. Jude Center, 400 N. Rampart Street, where we will prepare and serve a delicious pasta and meatball lunch to those in attendance. This great organization allows all of the Italian Ameri- cans in New Orleans to enjoy the company of one another in a fun and festive environment. We celebrate life in appre- ciation of our heritage and strive to keep it significant in our city as it has been for over 100 years. We sincerely invite you, as an Italian American, to join the Italian American St Joseph Society and celebrate your heritage with us in New Orleans. Information about parading and Gala tickets can be found on our website: 37th Annual Louisiana Irish-Italian Parade Sunday March 24th, 2019 at 12pm in Metairie